System Output stops working on a Mac

Roon Core Machine

Macbook Pro M1, MacOS 12.5
Roon core 1.8 stable

Networking Gear & Setup Details

Mac is wired directly to switch (gear is all Ubiquity)

Connected Audio Devices

Headphones connected to Mac

Number of Tracks in Library


Description of Issue

I have three Audio outputs configured. System Audio on the Mac, and two sets of Sonos speakers. Playback via the Sonos Speakers always works. Playback over System Audio ( to listen over my headphones) does sometimes work, but after a while just stops working. Only a reboot of the Mac fixes this. (restart of Roon does not fix this).

Typically this happens when I am switching to a new track.


  • Have been listening for hours to music over my headphones using the System Audio output without issue.
  • Suddenly when switching to a new track the message “Select Output Zone” appears briefly, and the System Audio is not in the list of zones that I can pick from. But this disappears even if I do nothing, and System Output reappears as an option. Only now no sound is output. Tracks appear to play (progress bar moves) but there is no sound.

Restarting roon does not work. Only reboot appears to work.

It is as if System Output suddenly became a black hole for sound…

Update: If I remove my headphones (airPod Max) then System Audio starts playing again, over my speakers. It is with the airPod Max Headphones that it stopped working. So I do suspect that it may be a MAC issue.

What is going on, and how do I fix this?

Krist, I don’t have AirPod Max headphones (only AirPods here), but how are they connecting to your Mac, via Bluetooth? If so, are they then set as the System Output in the Audio menu on the M1? I assume so but want to confirm. There have been some odd behaviors at time with Roon and Apple Silicon Macs, but they also tend to go away after being addressed.

However, I also have seen some not great Bluetooth behavior on Macs in general (I have a MBPro 2019 I currently use for my Core) that may contribute to the behavior you are experiencing. Does this happen when either the M1 or the Max reach a certain battery level? Do your headphones behave oddly with other devices or applications?

1 Like

Airpod Max are supposed to have the same controllers inside as normal Airpods. They just are bigger.
They are connected using Bluetooth.

The odd thing is that they sometimes just disappear. And then I just take them off (which shuts them down) and then wait for the sound to come over the speakers, and then put them on again. That works, but is annoying. And the whole point of using headphones is not to disturb others by having music come out of the speakers…

Hey @Krist_van_Besien,

Thanks for writing in, it’s great to see you on community again!

To better look into this, please jot down a timestamp (date,time) of when this issue occurs. That way, we can enable diagnostics on your account and look at what might be happening when your AirPods disconnect.

As a test, do you have another pair of Bluetooth headphones with which you could try to replicate the issue? I’d be curious if this is specific to the airpods, or of this happens no matter the connected device.

I’ll be on standby for your reply :+1:

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